Ferguson Law Firm Attorney Mark Sparks recalls a memorable car accident case that he and Attorney Jane Leger brought to trial.
Probably the case that comes to mind is a personal friend that I represented along with one of my partners, Jane Leger, and a case involving a rear end accident. She was a grandmother, who was taking care of her grandkids at the time, and the insurance company, Allstate, refused to pay hardly anything at all.
And she needed a surgery. She needed a neck surgery and she was in pain. And the hard part was witnessing that as her friend, every day, the struggles that she had. Now, the thing that was the good part was the fact that I knew that, both Jane and I had the skill to help her get out of that spot in life and to help her get to a trial in Jefferson County and get the responsible party in front of a jury and make things right.
And we tried the case to verdict, Jane and I did, and on a $7,000 offer, the jury awarded us slightly over $750,000. And that award from the jury meant so much to me, not only as a lawyer, but as her friend and someone who loves her very much.
Because a lot of our clients don’t just need the money, they need the judgment from a jury. They need twelve people to look at an insurance company or look at a company and say, “You owe this, all 12 of us are telling you, you owe this to this person and she deserves it.” And she got that.
Walking through Lisa’s case. First of all, she never had a surgery. That’s what makes the amount of the award so spectacular. And with the humility that I should bring to this conversation, but it was a $7,000 offer. How did we get there? What brought us to that impasse?
Well, a board certified orthopedic surgeon out of Lake Charles testified that she was going to need a future surgery. For whatever reason, for their own selfish reasons, the insurance carrier rejected that testimony and decided to go with their own hired expert who didn’t treat Lisa, but made up a fictitious diagnosis called compensation… “compensation neurosis”, or “compensation syndrome”. It had two names because it really didn’t exist at all.
And they brought that testimony to the table. And so part of their defense was this doctor that they hired and he ended up getting struck by the court after Jane and I filed motions and argued to the court why he should be stricken.
And ultimately after taking multiple depositions and working through these expert opinions – not sure we’d classify him as an expert – we got to trial – after significant expense and significant effort in briefing that goes on in the court.
It’s unique. The client gets frustrated with the amount of time – sometimes it goes by. But while the client is healing and treating, we’re working in the courts and in the depositions to file the briefs and write the motions and take the depositions of the experts and of the parties, to be sure that when we go to trial, when we get there on that day, that the days of the trial where they’re going to talk to the jury and tell the jury what happened to them, that we’ve got all our evidence that we can get to help them win the verdict that they deserve.